Regional elections will be held in the Community of Madrid on 4 May. Spanish labour legislation includes the possibility for employees participating in the process to have some paid time off.
Traditionally elections have taken place on Sundays. Given that the vote this year will take place on a working day, employers should take a closer look at the relevant regulation.
The resolution of the Employment Authorities of the Community of Madrid dated 24 March 2021, which is only applicable for this election, sets out three reasons for which paid leave may be granted on election day.
- On the one hand, employees who have the right to vote may be entitled to paid leave according to their work schedule. In other words, it grants the possibility to leave work in order to vote.
The duration of the paid leave will depend on how much the opening hours of the polling stations overlap with the working hours of the individual, pro rata for persons hired on a part-time basis. Specifically: i) if the time they coincide is less than two hours, the employee will not be entitled to any paid time off, ii) if they coincide for a period of more than 2 hours, but less than 4 hours, the paid leave will be 2 hours, iii) if it is between 4 and 6 hours, the employee may be absent for 3 hours, and iv) if they overlap for more than 6 hours, a paid leave of 4 hours is foreseen.
This right is subject to the exercise of the right to vote, and the employer may request evidence of this. In addition, the legislation establishes that it will be the company, based on the organization of work, which will determine the period in which this right may be exercised. In other words, in order to maintain the normal functioning of the company, "shifts" or "groups" may be organized to take the leave (ie, it will not be for employees to decide this unilaterally).
- Voting officers (“interventores”) or members of the polling stations: This resolution grants a paid leave to those employees who have the condition of voting officers or members of the polling stations (presidents or members of the voting table) for the duration of the working day, unless they were not expected to work that day (weekly rest), and an additional paid 5 hours on the following working day.
3. Party poll watchers(“apoderados”): In a third group, those employees who act as proxies will also have paid leave which, however, will only cover the day of voting.
It should be noted that if the employees included in these last two groups were assigned to the night shift the day before the election date, they may request a change.